Ruins of the Ancient Kaduruwela Vijithapura Fort – කදුරුවෙල විජිතපුර බලකොටුව නටබුණ්

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Satellite image of of the area covering the fort of Kaduruwela.

Satellite image of of the area covering the fort of Kaduruwela.

In 1979, an area culturally distinct in the shape of a square surrounded by three consecutive moats was discovered in Kaduruwela during the work on the Mahaweli Development Project by A. Denis N. Fernando. Area covered by this distinct shape was also confirmed by aerial photos of the region. It was later identified as ruins of a long forgotten ancient fort of an unknown era. Not much attention was given to this archaeological artifact for the next 30 or years while human activity continued over this area.

It was only in 2009-2010 that an archaeological study was carried out on this area. It was discovered that the fort had 2 main sections. The inner sanctum is surrounded by a moat and a 16 meter thick defense wall which run around the approx. 870mx840m sanctum. It has been estimated that the wall would have been about 8 meters high based on the ancient writings on building forts. Currently you can see 4 meter high remains of the fort wall on the northern side.

The moat has been 42 meters wide. Four great entrances has been built outside these walls. The Northern, eastern and western entrances has been placed at the center of the walls. There has been a considerable effort in building a elaborate entrance with improved protection on the northern side of the fort. On the southern side, there is a 160 meter wide plot of land between the inner and the outer moat. The southern entrance has been placed towards the eastern edge of the wall where part of the Government Seed Farm now lies. signs of human habitation  has been discovered on the land plot left to this entrance. This area might has been used as the soldiers quarters in ancient times.

Parts of the defense wall is today being used as access roads to the seed farm.  The part of the inner sanctum has been converted to a paddy field and the rest to residential buildings. Therefore most of the ruins inside this area has been destroyed over time and the building plan inside the sanctum is unknown but a glimpse in to the life inside this ancient fort was discovered when a small part (30x10m) of the inner fort about 100 meters from western and southern walls were excavated.

The paddy fields before excavation, recovered artifacts and todays situation

The paddy fields before excavation, recovered artifacts and todays situation
image source : www.archaeology.lk

The excavation unearthened parts of a luxurious mansion hidden under the earth. The excavation have yielded evidence of remains of three buildings attached to each other. The main building has evidence that it had been connected to a highly developed water supply mechanism. There are signs of a gutter system and waterways, bathing pools and changing rooms within this complex. According to the archaeologists this would have been a adobe of a king or a high powered official. Based on the size of the bricks and the layout of the site, this fort at Kaduruwela has been dated to early Anuradhapura period.

The final battle between the warrior Sinhalese king Dutugenunu and the south indian king Elara who was ruling from Anuradhapura took place at the Vijithapura Fort, the final stronghold of Elara. The belief was that the Vijithapura Fort was close to Kala Wewa but considering the other places mentioned in the ancient text there were some historians who believed that the Vijithapura should be located much close to Polonnaruwa probably near Kaduruwela. Based on the dating of the fort it is now believed that this should be the popular popular Vijithapura Fort.

Also See

Map of Ruins at Kaduruwela Vijithapura Fort

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The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites.

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Driving Directions to Kaduruwela Vijithapura Fort

Route from Polonnaruwa to Kaduruwela Vijithapura Fort

Through : Kaduruwela
Distance : 6 km
Travel time : 15 minutes
Driving directions : see on google map

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Posted in Forts, Heritage, Polonnaruwa Tagged with: